Sun. Dec 15th, 2019

Missing person in Air Niugini aircraft crash found

The missing passenger of the Air Niugini flight PX73, a Boeing 737 aircraft that landed in Chuuk lagoon on its final approach to airport runway last Friday September 28, 2018, was discovered by divers yesterday, according to a press statement issued by the Air Niugini.

“It is with deep sadness I confirm that the body of a male passenger was discovered by divers today as they conducted a further search of P2-PXE and the surrounding area in the Chuuk Lagoon,” Air Niugini Limited Chief Executive Officer Tahawar Durrani said in the statement issued as of yesterday evening.

Durrani said that they are already in touch with the man’s family and making arrangements to repatriate the dead body.

The name of the missing person was not however identified in the statement.

“We express our deepest sympathy to his family. We are and will continue to provide support to his family in this time of loss,” the statement reads.

“The circumstances surrounding this accident are now a matter for relevant authorities as they begin their task of investigating the events that led to the incident and the actions which followed. We are committing all required resources to ascertain the factors that led to this accident,” it added.

The aircraft was carrying 36 passengers and 11 crew members when the incident happened. Eight were taken to hospital with life threatening injuries and few were medivac to Guam.

The flight, according to reports, had left Pohnpei and was connecting to Chuuk with Port Moresby as its final destination.  The Plane, as it reached its final approach, landed in the lagoon instead, few meters from the beginning of the airport runway.

It took a while for the plane to sink giving many of the local people a time to rescue the passengers.

This is the second major crash of commercial aircraft in Micronesia.  The first commercial airline crash was in Guam in 1997 of Korean Air where 228 out 254 passengers perished.

Investigation by FAA is on-going to determine the cause of the crash. (L.N. Reklai)